[LET’S CHAT] DNF-ing Books



“Mikaela, are you starting another new feature?” Of course I am. I already have a Discussion feature, in which I talk about bigger book topics, but I realized there were a lot of topics I wanted to discuss that I didn’t feel would be able to fill out an entire blog post or seemed a bit unoriginal since pretty much every other blogger has talked about the same issues. So I thought it’d be nice to create a sort of mini-discussions feature called “Let’s Chat” about all the problems/things we as bookworms face. And I thought the perfect first topic was DNF-ing books.

Everyone usually has their own personal policy on DNF-ing. Some people give it halfway, some people give it 25%, some people will just give up ten pages away from the end in frustration, and some will know that the book isn’t for them after two chapters in. It’s so interesting how different we are as readers, and I think it says a lot about us depending on when and where you give up and say, “I’m done!”

For me, I try (the keyword is “try”) to give until at least 50% before I DNF. I personally think that if I’ve read around that much of an author’s book, and it’s still not picking up or improving, then there’s really nothing in the last half of the book that’s going to make me change my mind.

Above are some books that I DNF-ed after reading through 50%. First up is Under the Never Sky, which I actually first read in the sixth grade. I actually liked the novel back then, but last year, I decided to re-read it so I could finish out the series, and lo and behold, I detested it. The insta-love was SO BAD, and the world-building wasn’t too great either. I got so annoyed and I wasn’t enjoying reading it, so I just bowed out before I got too angry. We also have Hollow City, which I gave up on because I was so damn bored, I couldn’t take it anymore. The Iron King was a book I expected to love because all of my Goodreads friends seemed to and I LOVE fae, but I wasn’t really invested in this one, and ended up calling it quits about 40 pages before the end. And for Rebel of the Sands, I also DNF-ed it late in the game, literally two chapters in the end because I just couldn’t finish it. I was bored, I didn’t like the plot, and there were too many characters to juggle.


Other times, I just end up quitting earlier on because my expectations aren’t met, or I just really don’t feel like suffering through something that has an incredibly slow start. Usually, for most of my earlier DNFs, it really all comes down to how bored I am with what’s going on.

These are some books I ended up quitting early on. As you guys know, I wasn’t a huge fan of The Darkest Minds trilogy, and once I reached In the Afterlight, I was so bored, I just gave up, especially since I wasn’t really a huge fan in the first place. With The Fever, I was expecting something completely different, and I ended up being faced with petty high school drama. I knew I couldn’t take that, so I decided that it just wasn’t for me. For Before the Fall, I was super excited to read this, but it was a slower thriller, more of a literary thriller, and I felt like the plot hadn’t really moved forward, so I skipped on it. Bad Little Girl was one I felt super bad about, since I received an e-ARC of it, but I read 10 chapters and was so incredibly bored, that I knew it just wasn’t going to happen. I also had a bunch of other e-ARCs to read, so I didn’t feel like wasting time.


And there’s also another category of DNFs. There have actually been books I’ve DNF-ed that I just read at the wrong time, and have actually become some of my favorite books (or, in one case, a book that I found just fine). I’m always up for giving books second chances if I see enough hype for them, and I’m always glad when I do and find that it was just bad timing the first time around. 

Way back when, I started to read Cinder. I didn’t hate it exactly, but the first chapter didn’t really pull me in. Later on, I picked it up because of Goodreads reviews, and ended up loving it. I binged all three books in the series (at the time, Winter hadn’t come out yet), and it’s now one of my favorite series ever. With The Maze Runner, I’m sort of angry about it because I picked this up way back in the fifth or sixth grade, when it wasn’t popular. Believe it or not, I was obsessed with romance over plot (I know, crazy, right?), and flipped through the entire book to find the scene where they kissed, and was highly disappointed to see the main characters didn’t. I decided to give up on it after two chapters, and picked it back up once it got popular and loved it. I could’ve been a trendsetter you guys! Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Shadow and Bone were both fantasy books where I couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters, but later read and enjoyed. I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone, while I thought Shadow and Bone was just okay and I never actually continued on past that.

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Then there’s the big question: Should we rate books we haven’t fully read? Personally, for me, I have rated a couple, mostly the ones I read 50% or more of. I consider that enough for me to judge the book on, but I know there are some people who only rate books they’ve fully read and feel like it’s wrong to assign one star to a book because it’s sort of unfair. For books I read less than 20% of, I didn’t rate them at all, and for the ones I went back to, the only time I rated them was after I actually completed them the second time around.


And that’s it for the first ever edition of Let’s Chat! I hope you enjoyed it, because I’ve already written about 10+ topics, and I’m not going to waste them all.

(Just kidding. But I HAVE already written a bunch of topics already.)


What is your personal DNF policy? What are some books that you’ve DNF-ed? Any books you’ve DNF-ed, then re-read them and enjoyed them?

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